Publication date: 08/11/2018
Convert Pharmaceuticals, a Belgian biotech company developing anti-cancer therapeutics, announces that Dr Mariola Söhngen joined as CEO, as the company gears up for its first-in-human clinical trials with its lead program.
Mariola brings a wealth of experience in the biotechnological and pharmaceutical industry, as well as company building and clinical development. After 11 years working at global companies like Grünenthal and Ferrer, in 2000 Mariola co-founded PAION, a German biopharmaceutical company currently listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, and served as its Managing Director and Chief Medical Officer until 2015, when she became CEO of Mologen, an immune-oncology company also listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.
At Convert, Mariola will be replacing Janwillem Naesens, Managing Partner at Droia Oncology Ventures, who served as acting CEO.
Janwillem Naesens: “We are very happy to have Mariola join Convert and are handing over the company’s management in full confidence. This is a crucial stage in Convert’s development, as it is transforming from a pre-IND venture into a clinical stage company. Mariola has driven these transformations before and has shown a very good fit with the rest of the company. This is a big step towards the successful future of Convert.”
Convert Pharmaceuticals, a Belgian biotech company headquartered in Liège, focuses on the development of novel oncology drugs. Backed by its investors Droia Oncology Ventures, Meusinvest and Spinventure, and with further non-dilutive support by the Walloon region and the European Eurostars program, Convert is preparing the initial clinical studies with its lead drug candidate, CP-506, a hypoxia-activated prodrug (HAP) licensed from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Acting as a selective cytotoxin upon specific activation in hypoxic regions in the tumor, sites that are known to be more resistant to current therapies, this next generation HAP holds the promise to improve treatment outcomes in combination regimes. Given that tumor sensitivity to CP-506 is multifactorial, Convert is also developing advanced biomarkers that will enable an accurate selection of patients who stand to benefit the most from CP-506 treatment.